The Hunter represents one of Umbrella’s most formidable and profitable B.O.W. projects with numerous models developed by both Umbrella Europe and Umbrella U.S.A. in a bid to create the perfect reptilian-based combat unit. They were so successful in terms of cost and performance that further derivatives were developed by the rival company following the theft of precious development data.
The concept for such a creature dates back to the early 1980s following William Birkin’s successful refinement of the βII strain t-Virus and the goal of the Hunter project was to develop the first battle-suited B.O.W. using the genetic information of various reptilian creatures, administering the t-Virus and altering its gene structure. It was developed based on a concept for the creation of an organism with the ability to oppose enemies with anti-virus equipment and protection measures. It had intelligence and could understand and execute simple orders, characterized with phenomenal agility and jumping prowess. Additionally it could close-in on targets at high speed and cut down their lives, living up to its deserved name of “Hunter”.
Birkin devised the idea of infusing a fertilised human egg with reptilian DNA through the stabilised βII strain t-Virus. Artificial growth promoter was applied at various intervals and further modifications and monitoring resulted in the test subject becoming a complete organism following a period of approximately one year. The final result was a frightening cross between a reptile and a human. During the earliest phase of development, Birkin went through many test subjects in his bid to succeed with this organism. But the project was delayed when he allowed himself to become distracted over Umbrella’s recruitment of child genius Alexia Ashford as chief researcher. His jealousy and narcissism resulted in his work becoming sloppy and many test subjects were wasted. In the end Wesker had to step in and suspend the experiments to preserve the remaining guinea pigs.
Eventually however, a prototype was created under the code-name ‘MA-120’ and initial testing was successful. The Hunter had sharp claws and hard scales for protection, greater mobility than humans and the minimum amount of intelligence required to follow orders. This made them for than capable of fulfilling the purpose for which they were created; to battle soldiers equipped to fight the results of viral infection. A major challenge when creating human-based bioweapons is excessive corrosion of the cerebral neocortex, which results in a loss of intelligence. Once the Hunters underwent viral-induced physical transformation, Birkin countered this problem by injecting them with genes from a lower form of life that only possessed instinctive-levels of intelligence in order to supplement their mental capabilities, therefore enhancing their ability to follow orders The earliest prototype was evaluated at learning up to 10 simple commands and the name ‘Hunter’ was made official following the results of earlycombat tests and the pleasing demonstration of pack hunting to take down their targets. Interestingly all Hunter B.O.W.s were female in origin.
Following the ‘death’ of Alexia Ashford in late 1983, Birkin regained his composure and the Hunter Program was kick-started. After over a decade of successive research and improvement, The Hunter attained viable status as a combat B.O.W. in terms of cost and effectiveness becoming the first creature to be mass-produced through cloning. It was to be Umbrella’s flagship B.O.W and the first manufactured model was the MA-121 Hunter α in 1998.
The Hunter α was a big success and subsequently, several variations were produced by both the American and European branches of Umbrella, such as the Hunter β which possessed improved agility, and the amphibian-based Hunter γ. As a B.O.W. with a high degree of perfection, the Hunter attracted attention from organisations other than Umbrella, and the rival company developed the Hunter II after development data was stolen by Wesker. The Hunter II and its Sweeper subspecies, in comparison with Umbrella’s earlier models which attacked the area around a target indiscriminately, achieved an enhanced degree of perfection as weapons. But because of the data leak to the rival company, Umbrella eventually terminated the Hunter program completely in the early 21st century and developed a short-lived and ultimately unsuccessful successor called the ‘Anubis’. But even after Umbrella collapsed, Hunter B.O.W.s remained extremely popular and were traded regularly on the world’s black markets.
HUNTER PROTOTYPE – MA-120 – The earliest model created. Although little is known about this prototype, it was successful enough in combat tests to be christened the name ‘Hunter’. The test subject took approximately one year to fully develop following virus injection into a three-week old fertilised human embryo and was further strengthened by incorporating the DNA of reptilian creatures. The MA-120 was never put into production but its evaluation data was used as the template for all future variants.
HUNTER α – MA-121 – The Hunter Alpha was the flagship Umbrella B.O.W. and the first to be massproduced using cloning technology thanks to its practicality and low development cost. It was a bipedal organism with green-scaled skin. This was an intentional look designed to cause those who saw it a psychological feeling of repulsion. Its scaled skin was a result of reptile DNA being infused into a fertilised human egg through the t-Virus. The hardened scales of its body were keratinized ensuing the Hunter could withstand a large amount of damage before it began to weaken. This was because its thick skin had the same level of intensity as Kevlar fibre used in bulletproof vests. The application of the t-Virus βII-strain increased muscular power and reflexive speed to the equivalent level of a large carnivorous animal.
It was also the first B.O.W. developed that successfully halted the natural brain cell erosion caused by the virus. Its intelligence levels were relative to that of an arthropod and could be trained to follow and execute roughly ten types of commands. When in a pack, the MA-121 α showed cunning and worked together to track their prey, perfectly demonstrating why they were given the name ‘Hunter’ in the first place.
The Hunter’s primary weapons were its hard, long claws extended on both hands and feet. These claws were actually its bones which became transformed and exposed. Its basic fighting tactic was hand-to-hand combat after rapidly closing in from the target’s blind spot. Specifically, it first dashed to approach a target from a distance of 10-15 feet (3-5 meters). It abundantly used various attack patterns of either shortening to a suitable distance from the opponent’s chest and tearing it up with its sharp claws, or jumping greatly and attacking its opponent’s head.
When two Hunters cooperated, they specialised in combinations, as one jumped greatly behind the target and trifled with the opponent, the other one quickly approached, interjected and struck, causing fatal injuries.
Following the success of the Alpha model, several successful variants were later produced based on combat data collected from the mansion incident. All Hunters were created and cloned as females.
HUNTER β – MA-121 – The Hunter Beta was the first attempt at creating a successor to the extremely successful Alpha model that was deployed during the mansion incident. Using the same development code of MA-121, the Beta project was handled once again by Umbrella USA and the emphasis was to increase performance enhancement over the original Alpha Model.
A standard Hunter grown from a human embryo can take up to a year to develop so to save money and keep the budget for the project down, the Beta Hunters were not created from scratch and developed instead by using cloned Alpha models as a base template and having them undergo further superimposed gene remodelling. The end results were mixed.
Compared to the Alpha model, the Hunter Beta’s offensive capabilities were slightly lower and its basic appearance was far more grotesque thanks to the development of red, tumour-like growths all over its face and upper body, restricting its vision. The gene remodelling sequences also resulted in the Hunter’s claws becoming uneven with the subjects having larger claws on its left hand than the right. This affected balance and made the creature automatically left-handed. Despite these faults, the agility levels of the Beta model rose astoundingly. It was quicker than the Alpha, developing instantaneous force and had the ability to dodge bullets thanks to a much improved central nervous system. It also had intelligence levels that matched its predecessor and was able to carry out simple commands effectively. It also favoured to attack its prey in groups.
Approximately 20 Hunter Betas were deployed into Raccoon City via land transport trucks in September 1998
for a battle test. Once the results of this test had been analysed, further experimentation was due to be carried
out to iron out the faults of the Beta model before it underwent mass-production and completed the MA-121
HUNTER γ – MA-124 – The Hunter Gamma was an experimental project launched by Umbrella Europe to develop an amphibian based Hunter that could operate in water. It was based on data gathered from both the Alpha and Beta models with the primary difference being that an amphibian egg was used as the base for the fertilised ovum as opposed to a human. Human genes were incorporated later in the culture process during application of the t-Virus. This was one of the first amphibian based experiments since James Marcus’s original attempts with the Lurker in the late 1970’s. This B.O.W. was given the development code of MA-124.
Although expectations were high, the resulting creature was disappointing, with levels of intelligence unfavourable when compared to the Beta model. Its vision also degenerated and it lacked the sharp perception ability for attacking
targets like its Alpha and Beta counterparts, although it maintained the same level of basic aggressiveness. But to compensate for its reduced eyesight, the creature developed a keen sensory ability.
Unlike a regular Hunter, because of the change in base-organism, the completed creature resembled a large frog and led to the development team nick-naming it ‘Frogger.’ This also meant it lacked the signature claws of a standard Hunter. Because of its aquatic attributes it was an efficient swimmer and a great menace in areas where water was plentiful. It also had a superior digestive system and was able to swallow a human whole. Its appearance resembles that of a gluttonous carnivore and it possessed no teeth.
However, like all amphibians, it was weak when on land and exposed to dry air and direct sunlight, making versatility in that area extremely limited and commercialisation difficult. A performance test was carried out by the European Branch during the Raccoon City incident and several specimens were captured by workers at the General Hospital.
Following feedback assessment, a decision was taken to not mass-produce the MA-124 models, although the development data was kept on file and a small number were sold to Javier Hidalgo in the early 2000’s for use in Amparo where the natural water source was plentiful.
HUNTER R – MA-125 – The Hunter R was another attempt to improve upon the successful MA-121 Alpha model used during the mansion incident. The project was supervised by a team under William Birkin. Although successful, the practicality of the Alpha series was called into question by some, resulting in the development of the Hunter R to try and improve ‘usability’ and an increased focus on agility rather than aggression. They were grown from infancy and were created using improved genes, resulting in increased intelligence levels and a more reptilian look. It had smaller claws than aregular Hunter and sections of its chest and arms were now covered in scales. It also developed small spikes on the top of its head. Because they were smaller, the Hunter R was able to move around a lot quicker and was a harder target to hit. They were considered successful and mass-produced under the code number: MA-125R through the usual cloning program.
As well as being sold as weapons, they were also utilised for training purposes and used as opponents to test the combat abilities of in-development Tyrants.
HUNTER μ – A smaller version of the ‘R’ series, these were kept at Umbrella’s Corporate Headquarters in Raccoon City. Compared to the ‘R’ models, these creatures had inferior mobility and combat ability. They were primarily used for training purposes for the ongoing development of Tyrant-class creatures.
HUNTER δ – The Hunter Delta was a low-cost prototype experiment by Umbrella to extend the productivity of the Hunter series. The original MA-121 Alpha model was created by Umbrella U.S.A, but production was hampered following the business suspension order imposed by the U.S. Government in 1999 which forced the Chicago branch to close. The development data was transferred to the Russian branch under the supervision of Sergei Vladimir. By this stage the Hunter Program was no longer a priority because the rival company had essentially hijacked the market by creating the more effective Hunter II and Sweeper variants thanks to stolen data.
Whilst Umbrella looked at a replacement program with the Anubis, several Hunter Delta models were created using the old Alpha model as a base. Extra hormones and body strengthening was applied to make them slightly larger whilst also increasing ferocity and attack power. But their basic physical appearance and combat ability remained unchanged. The Hunter Deltas were never deployed in a practical capacity because the entire Hunter program was shelved completely and instead what specimens were created were frozen and stored in a remote hangar underneath a grain silo in a nearby village. They were eventually set loose in early 2003 when Albert Wesker and Chris Redfield came to blows once again. Most of the specimens were destroyed when the floor of the grain silo collapsed and Wesker was unsuccessful in acquiring a live subject.
HUNTER II – The Hunter II was a B.O.W. developed by the rival company after the MA-121 Alpha development data and frozen embryo was stolen by Albert Wesker during the mansion incident. Although the base creature remains largely the same in appearance to the original Alpha model with a body covered in reptile scales, it had higher practicality as a weapon than the original thanks to a sophisticated external control mechanism referred to as an automated self-propelled surveillance device. This device would zero in on a target and relay its position to the nearest Hunter unit, which was surgically implanted with a small optical computer. This mechanism improved the Hunter’s functionality as a solider by programming the creature to attack only specific targets, negating the need for a trainer.
The Hunter II attacked by approaching its target with quick movement and then tearing them apart with sharp claws on both hands. Minor improvements were also made to its versatility and durability ensuring it developed an enhanced degree of perfection as a weapon compared to a standard Hunter which was difficult to control with limited intelligence and attacked targets indiscriminately.
SWEEPER – A sub-species was developed known as the ‘Sweeper’ and its athletic abilities were heightened over the standard Hunter II and it was skilled at jumping abundantly to perform multilateral attacks.
It was also a poisonous variant capable of secreting a potent venom from the tips of its claws that could severely weaken any opponent. This was thanks to the incorporation of venomous reptile genes during the genetic engineering process to make the Sweeper athletically stronger. This toxicity ran throughout its body and caused its skin to develop a red texture compared to the usual reptile-green. Its name was derived from the fact it was used to chase down targets the Hunter II missed and they were usually deployed simultaneously.
The success of the Hunter II and Sweeper on the B.O.W. market for the rival company was enough for Umbrella to terminate and phase out their Hunter program and instead developed a successor with the ‘Anubis’ project.
GLIMMER – A small, amphibious sub species discovered at the Waste Disposal Facility in the Atlantic Ocean. The Glimmer was a medium-sized organism with compound eyes akin to arthropods living in groups in the dark. These ocular clusters were bright red and glowed in the dark, giving off a menacing appearance when spotted from distance. These creatures were timid by nature but would attack if they could seize the advantage and will often hunt in packs. Their physical form suggested a sub-species of Hunter but this hypothesis remains purely theoretical. They were very amphibious in nature and had a distinct look of a Hunter Gamma, though they are much smaller and far less ferocious.
Additionally they do not possess claws like a standard Hunter and attack by jumping at their prey and expelling acidic fluids to burn and incapacitate, not unlike the capabilities of a standard zombie. Glimmers preferred dark places, suggesting a highly evolved form of instinct and sensory capacity. Their reaction to bright light remains unknown but it is presumed to be harmful to them. This alone made them unsuitable for viable B.O.W. deployment purposes.
HUNTER ELITE – The Hunter Elite was another product from Umbrella Europe and designed to be the pinnacle of the Hunter Program, although its budget was substantially reduced following the termination of the program in favour of the Anubis. The main difference between the Elite and previous models was the incorporation of both reptile and amphibian DNA into a fertilised human ovum using the t-Virus as a retroviral vector. This fusion proved successful and the resulting organism developed faster movement and reflexes over previous Hunters coupled with superior attacking power. But the splicing of amphibian and reptile DNA left the creature with a curious appearance. Its face resembled that of a fish and its body a lizard with its overall skin texture a curious mix of scales and jagged, hardened flesh. They possessed almost elongated arms with enlarged hands that evolved into three pincer-like claws.
The prototype specimens were specially modified for presentation on board the Spencer Rain in 2002 where they were eventually set free and went on the rampage following Morpheus’ attack. Their most impressive trait was lightning fast reflexes and the ability to pivot and dash from side to side in the face of gunfire. But despite all of their promise, the Hunter Elite was never mass-produced.
FARFARELLO – This B.O.W. was developed by the F.B.C. as part of an experiment to test the effectiveness of the t-Abyss virus on pre-existing t-Virus creatures. The base organism was a standard MA-121 model Hunter and was named after Farfarello (Slanderer), one of the twelve Malebranche (Evil Claws) demons in The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri.
As a consequence of this new virus the creature now has the ability to mimic its surroundings. This is a unique trait found in certain aquatic species which enables it to camouflage itself against its surroundings and become transparent. Other physical changes recorded is the Hunter’s reptilian skin becomes a darker shade of green and curious spines appear at random over its back. The chest and belly of the creature is white and smooth with a very small amount of black mottling at the edge of the chest. Unlike other Hunters its eyes become bright red as a side effect of t-Abyss infection.
But although impressive as an attacking specimen, a severe side effect was recorded as a result of the Farfarello being injected with more than one virus. Although its overall aggressiveness increased, its control characteristic deteriorated rapidly more than ever before and it struggled to follow even the most basic orders. Once it manifested its cloaking ability the organism becomes almost impossible to control. Strangely the Farfarello will decloak when attacking or taunting. It will also lose transparency when taking damage or affected by a pulse grenade. Whilst in this state its behaviour reverts to that of a standard Hunter also.